Governor J.B. Pritzker announced yesterday that all bars and restaurants in the state will be closed to the public, beginning at close of business today through March 30th due to the coronavirus pandemic. Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike says that some people may be infected and not know it so it is best to take extra precautions to slow the spread of the virus
Pritzker said that he knows the decision to close businesses is a serious one: “This is another hard step to take. I know how difficult this will be on small businesses around the state. But we must do everything we can to safeguard the health of the citizens of Illinois, and that requires this urgent action. The time for persuasion and public appeals is over — the time for action is here. This is not a joke. No one is immune to this, and you have an obligation to act in the best interests of all the people of this state.”
Pritzker said he is working to help restaurant owners to keep kitchens open so that food delivery, drive through, and curbside pick up options can remain open for Illinois residents.
Pritzker also announced that he has directed state agencies to implement plans for a temporary reduction of government functions and workforce while maintaining core functions and essential operations. Select employees will continue to report to work; while the remaining workforce will either work remotely or be asked to remain home on call while receiving pay. All state employees will continue to be paid during this period. Pritzker said he will notify state employees in the coming days while his office will remain fully open and functional.